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The Body as an Instrument : 

A Theoretical Choice Made by á¡r´gadeva


Mukund Lath


I wish to discuss a notable section right in the beginning of á¡r´gadeva's Sa´g¢ta- Ratn¡kara concerning the question of n¡dotpatti -- the process by which sound is produced in the human body. á¡r´gadeva's aim, evidently, was not only to explain n¡dotpatti, the production of sound in general through the human frame, but to picturize svarotpatti, the more specific process, by which musical tones arise in the body. It is in this context that á¡r´lgadeva makes use of the notion of mah¡bh£tas. á¡r´gadeva's handling of his material is worthy of attention. He had three different theoretical pictures of the process before him, all three of which were available to him from widely different disciplines and approaches to the human body. He outlines all three of them and quite visibly makes a choice from among them, picking out the one most appropriate for his purpose as a sa´g¢ta-¿¡astr¢. His understanding of the human body, as it emerges from the standpoint he opts for, is to treat the human body as an instrument which the soul-or rather the embodied soul, the j¢v¡tman uses for its own creative purpose of making music.

Interesting as the view á¡r´gadeva accepts as an answer to the question of n¡dotpatti is, what I find even more interesting is to observe him making a choice between available alternatives. In this, curiously, his approach is not discursive. He does not argue for the propriety of the choice he makes, treating, as he should have, the alternatives he rejects as p£rvapakÀas which must be dismissed through reason. The intellectual tradition of the ¿¡stras such as ala´k¡ra in which he was obviously trained, not to speak of the darsanas, do indeed follow an articulate argumentative path for arriving at conclusions. And yet á¡r´gadeva does make a choice, a choice which, among all the alternative theories he had at hand, its most suitably with his picture of music-making as an activity of a free agent, a creative vggeyak¡ra. In the theory he finally accepts, the process of n¡dotpatti emerges as a causal, physical process which a person desirous of singing can freely use.

Curiously, it also appears that á¡r´gadeva was being pulled in two different directions. He seems, on the one hand, to be selecting an appropriate scheme from among those he had before him, but at the same time one also feels that he wants to present the different schemes as forming a large coherent whole into which the exiguous process of the production of tones in singing fits as a part. Noteworthy is also the fact that the two schemes he 'rejects' and which he takes up in some detail, clearly contain elements he could have used or adapted in order to formulate a process suitable for his purpose. Such a procedure would, indeed, have given him a theoretically more well-rounded whole. But he does not take up this course. The process he actually ends up by adopting does not mesh well with the rest and is, surprisingly in comparison, also sketched quite cursorily.

Fortunately, Dr Prem L&a Sharma's paper has provided us with many details as to what á¡r´gadeva actual says.[1] One could also refer to the English translation of the 'sa´g¢ta-Ratn¡kara by R.K. Shringy and Prem Lata, Sharma (Vol.1, adhy¡ya 1, prakara¸as 2 and 3).[2] This will allow us to be reasonably brief and save us from lengthy textual references. Although I find that I must reproduce some details for my own critical reflections on the text.

The two 'larger' schemes which á¡r´gadeva gives us are outlined in a single chapter which he terms pi¸·otpatti, 'the birth of the body'. This chapter is in a significant sense the first in the text: it follows a preamble containing a list of contents. Pi¸·opatti deals not only with the birth of the body as the name suggests but also its structure. Of the two distinct schemes it contains, the first is a picture sketched in some detail of bodily processes as mapped in the discipline of medicine available to á¡r´gadeva, the Ëyurveda. á¡r´gadeva gives us quite a detailed picture which he had in fact studied in much greater detail, even writing an independent book on the subject to which he refers us for further information. The book, which he had, interestingly, named, Adhy¡tmaviveka- "Distinguishing the Self" - is no longer extant.[3] S¡r´gadeva was, as he tells us, also a practising doctor.

In the picture of the 'self' clearly, in this context, the body as an embodied self - visualized here, the human frame is conceived as a psychosomatic entity, a whole, a 'person', which combines entities and properties that may be distinguished as material, organic and conscious or mental. Processes which are inner or psychic, whether of thought, emotion or resolve: are made part of the 'body'. They are conceived as emanating from, a much larger cosmic scheme founded on the idea of a single 'spiritual' stuff which manifests itself in entities both physical as well as psychic. J¢vas, individual souls, emerge like sparks from a. fire out of the ultimate spiritual reality, brahma. Shrouded by avidy¡ and propelled by karma, they assume physical form, doing so again and again, till they attain brahma-hood and mokÀa.

That is is not an unfamiliar picture in the tradition of Indian ideas about creation. It also lies at the basis of the picture that S¡r´gadeva draws for us of the human body as a 'person'. What is important for our purpose here is a glimpse into the actual mapping of the human body that the picture envisages.

Right, from the moment the j¢va enters the womb to be born a human person, it begins to be formed as an extremely complex psycho-physical entity. The properties it acquires as an embodied 'person' have been analysed into six different bh¡vas 'states of being': which includes a collection of such different things as organs, properties, functions, propensities and entities. These bh¡vas are shaped by six distinct sources or causes: mother, father, rasa ¡tm¡, sattva and s¡tmya. It will be useful to have before us some idea of what they give rise to, even though this might mean covering grounds which Dr Prem Lata Sharma has already covered.

Important is the fact that each bh¡va is in itself a complex mosaic of plural characteristics within a single entity, containing a mixed bag of elements which can separately be classed as physical or material or organic. The logic behind the mix is not easy to perceive. Let us have a look. The bh¡va which is said to be 'born of the mother' (m¡t¤ja), contains entities which are said to share a common quality: that of 'softness' or 'delicacy' (m¤du): these are mainly organic entities such as blood, fat, the navel, the heart, etc. But the heart is not only a physical organ it is, as we shall see, also the seat of consciousness. Bh¡vas born of the father have, on the contrary, the property of being 'hard' they consist of veins, arteries, body-hair, beard, teeth as well as semen. Veins and arteries play a vital role in the functioning of the body, as envisaged in this scheme or they would in any scheme-being instrumental not only in aiding organic functions, but also as carriers of the stuff of consciousness. Rasa, as the word suggests, stands for fluids which nourish the body and make it grow (¿ar¢ropacaya), but it is also responsible for a sense of satisfaction (t¤pti), absence of greed (alolupatva) and a continuing strength of resolution (uts¡ha: word which in this context is perhaps suggestive not of a property of the will but a general sense of optimism and 'pep' arising out of sheer good health). In any case? what we have is plainly a motley of very different things carrying the single label rasa. Ëtma, as can perhaps be expected, consists of somewhat more clearly distinguishable features associated with consciousness. Like the Ny¡ya ¡tm¡ it contains pleasure, pain, desire, effort and memory (bh¡van¡: the word being evidently used in the Naiyclyila sense) as well as knowledge. But this bh¡va, too, unlike the atma accepted in Ny¡ya, is not an unmixed one. Ëtm¡ is also responsible for the sense-organs - the indriyas and the age to which a body survives (¡yu). The indriyas meant here are both the jµ¡nrndriyas, the senses through which one knows: the senses of sight, hearing, touch and the like and the karmendriyas or the 'senses' of action, the motor organs. These are the organs of speech, the hands, the feet, the anus and the reproductive organs. There are also two internal organs, two antaÅkara¸as, associated with ¡tm¡ as part of it. These are manas and buddhi. Pleasure and pain are the functions of manas, while the functions of buddhi are, expectedly memory and conceiving (vikalpa); but, curiously with another, somewhat odd mixture of categories, also fear (bh¢ti).

Manas and buddhi are clearly important for our reflections here. But we are bound to ask some questions about them before we can picture their role in a process such as n¡dotpatti. How, to begin with, are they related to desire and effort? Are desire and effort included under vikalpa, noted as function of buddhi?-á¡r´gadeva makes no indication of such a sort and it is difficult to see how this could he so: sa´kalpa is plainly quite different from vikalpa. If supposing we were to think of desire and effort as in some sense 'disemhodied' parts - it is indeed difficult to think of them as purely physical-even then the question of how they are related to the other bh¡vas in order to function through them and perform voluntary activities such as singing will somehow have to be woven into the picture. Perhaps a cogent connection can be made between desire and effort and voluntary activity through the indriyas. This is an idea which not only seems fitting on its own but, looks plausible in á¡r´gadeva scheme. Of the indriyas á¡r´gadeva speaks of two contrary views. Some regarded them as physical (bhutika) but others considered them to be non-material or 'spiritual' (brahmayoni). Indeed, they do seem to share properties which are both conscious as well as material. They could be made to form a bridge between the body and more 'disembodied' entities like desire and effort. But there is nothing in á¡r´gadeva that might lead us to think that he envisaged any such connection. He does, however, speak of the heart, describe as a lotus-shaped physical organ, as the seat of consciousness. This, too, we shall see has possibilities which could have lead to a cogent picture of n¡dotpatti but á¡r´gadeva does not follow the lead.

Sattva is another antaÅkara¸a with three different 'aspects' or 'modes of operation' which are, in this case, conceived in terms of the three S¡Ækhy¡n gu¸as: sattva, rajas and tamas. These are in their distinct capacities responsible for inner properties such as faith (¡stikya), altruistic propensities (¿ukladharm¡Å), lust, anger, sleep, laziness etc. It is difficult to see why sattva was needed as a distinct bh¡va and could not be subsumed under manas and bh¡va. And again we do not know where to place this bh¡va as a 'part' of the body and relate its functioning with the body as a whole. A doctor would have to ask this question if he mere to administer to the body in order to treat a malaise relating to this bh¡va. Or is it simply a theoretical notion unrelated to the functioning of the body and included merely for the sake of completing the picture of 'man'. In which case why call it a bh¡va if it is not really related to the other bh¡vas in any interconnected and organically meaningful sense?

S¡tmya is an even stranger entity. It cannot, be said to be an organ. But neither is it described as another antaÅkar¸a though perhaps it could have been classed as such since it is certainly not a material thing. It is said to be the source of good health, clarity in the functioning of the indriyas and absence of laziness. It is difficult to see why its functions could not be included under sattva or another bh¡va.

The body, being made up of the five mah¡bh£tas, imbibes properties from them, too. These again are a mixed bag. Ëk¡¿a imparts to it sound, the power of hearing (¿rotra),  hollowness (suÀirat¡), and interestingly, a distinct identity in space (vaiviktya). But it also imparts a conscious property: subtlely of understanding. Agni is responsible for the eyes, form and colour, the quality of 'ripeness' or 'maturity', the state of being 'cooked' (p¡ka); it is not clear whether the p¡ka spoken of here is a quality of organic entities or also of entities such as manas and buddhi. Agni also causes bile as well as the property of making manifest (prak¡¿ata) - a property which is patently a property of consciousness as well as heat, sharpness and energy. It is also the source of other inner qualities: bravery, anger and intelligence. V¡yu or wind is responsible for the awareness of touch and the kannendriya of touch. Besides, it is also responsible for the various movements of the body. Ten modifications of v¡yu. (v¡yuvik¤tayaÅ) reside within the human frame and are responsible for various bodily movements and functions. These are the well-known pr¡¸a, ap¡na, sam¡na, ud¡na and vy¡na, which are the five major v¡yus. There are five others with a more minor role. The ten v¡yus help in carrying out various functions with and within the body, functions both voluntay and involuntary. Ap¡na, for example, expels urine and excreta. Vy¡na is stationed at the eyes, the ears, the nose as well as the ankles and the waist. Its role is not quite clear from á¡r´gadeva's account. Perhaps it, helps other v¡yus in carrying out functions such as smelling, hearing, batting of the eyes (for which one of the five minor v¡yus is said to be responsible), functions which, like the function of the indriyas have in some sense both the aspects of being intentional and

unintentional. But its functions in the ankles and the waist. whatever they are, are in no way within our control. Sam¡na performs functions which are purely organic and involuntary. Moving all over the body through n¡d¢s of arteries numbering 72000, it distributes all over the body the juices resulting from food and drink.

The chief of the v¡yus is pr¡¸a. From its station below the navel, it moves to the navel, the nose and the heart. It is responsible for breathing in and out, coughing and emitting sound.

A question to my mind arises as to why the mah¡bh£tas were needed in addition to the six bh¡vas which together presumably form a complete picture. How are ah¡bh£ltas related to the bh¡vas? They might be said to constitute the purely material elements which make up the body. But then we have seen that they are not quite material in nature, being as complex as the bh¡vas. This makes it even more difficult to understand why they could not have been included in the bh¡vas.

And yet despite questions that might arise, the pi¸·otpatti presents us with a fascining picture which is not merely conceptual in content but clearly takes detailed observations into account. We cannot but be impressed by it and its complexities which display the object needing a doctor's attention as not only a body but also a soul. But, to come back to our present purpose, how is pi¸·opatti relevantly tied up with with the process of n¡dotpatti á¡r´gadeva himself does not try to do this. For him it is only a general picture of the structure of the body as a whole. For the more specific processes of n¡dottti and svarotpatti he paints a separate picture. One would have expected him to have shown how these specific processes are related to the general structure of the body as a whole but á¡r´gadeva does not make such a. connection. This is puzzling, since it is not difficult to see that he could have done this with slight additions and modifications in the structure of the body as understood in the pi¸·otpatti picture. We have spoken earlier of a possible move he could have made. There was, as far as one can see, another potent possibility in the notion of the heart. The heart is plainly described as both an organ as well as the seat of consciousness. It is further described as forming the centre of important arteries (m£la¿ir¡) which are carriers of force or energy (ojas). Many of these arteries are indeed channels of communication between the heart and various organs being responsible for functions such as smelling. Two of these, connected to the tongue, are said to have a role in the act of speech. There are also other arteries, called dhaman¢s, which emanate from the navel as the centre, like spokes from the nave of a wheel. Some of these are connected to the heart from where they move into different directions creating channels through which awareness of sound, form and colour, taste and smell are conveyed. Two such arteries are responsible for the making of sound and speech (bh¡Àa¸a, ghoÀa).

The picture obviously has elements which could have been suitably moulded to construct a model for explaining the process of n¡dotpatti, if not svarotpatti, which would have needed further modifications in the picture to accommodate an organ that could produce different tones - such as an artery with appropriately placed holes which could function like a flute. Why did á¡r´gadeva not do so? As we said earlier, á¡r´gadeva is not articulate on this point. For him the picture of pi¸·otpatti seems to form a kind of larger basis which can serve as the ground for understanding the more specific process of n¡dotpatti and svarotpatti. But he makes no effort actually to tie up the picture presented in pi¸·otpatti with n¡dotpatti and svarotpatli in any significant manner.

What held him back? What kept him from remodelling the pi¸dotpatti in order to envisage n¡dotpatti and svarotpatti within it or at least tying it up in a relevant sense with it, since without this, pi¸dotpatti, fascinating as the picture it presents is, yet remains an attractive but only loosely attached appendage to the rest of the text, constituting a major doÀa in the ¿¡stra. á¡r´gadeva is silent. But, perhaps, we can speculate concerning his possible reasons.

There are, I think two major reasons why á¡r´gadeva did not tamper with the pi¸·otpatti picture in order to modify it any way. One seems to be the fact that he considered the picture as complete and fixed and so unchangeable in principle. No doubt, to begin with, the science of medicine had strong elements of an empirical science, needing observation and critical examination (par¢kÀ¡) by its practitioners. It also, evidently, allowed for a plurality in its interpretations of the human body as a person. The two pictures we have concerning this matter from Caraka and Su¿ruta, both ancient and foundational authors, are divergent in important ways: The Caraka picture is more Ny¡ya-like while the Susruta picture leans much more obviously and significantly on S¡Ækhya. The two distinct. views regarding indriyas, which á¡r´gadeva speaks of, one believing them to be material and the other putting them in the category of the conscious also points at an important difference in Caraka and Su¿ruta. Su¿ruta calls them bhautika while Caraka takes them as distinctive of beings that are cetana - living and conscious.[4] Yet despite disagreements between them, and their acceptance of theoretical plurality in practice, Caraka and Su¿ruta agree in considering their science as revelatory and unchangeable. Changes and new insights were no doubt incorporated within the s¡stra during its long history, but, paradoxically, the myth of unchangeability was carefully maintained. Significant intellectual opinion in the days of á¡r´gadeva seems to have regarded Ëyurveda as no less than a revelation, considering it a transcendental and not an empirical science. This may be confirmed from the strongly expressed views of the famous and influential philosopher, V¡caspati Mi¿ra (9th century, á¡r´gadeva wrote in the 13th). The á¡stra or Ëyurveda, says V¡caspati, like the Vedic mantra is authored by God himself; its truth is evident from the success of its operation, but it is not a ¿¡stra that could be conceived as being created by the exercise of merely human observation or reason; neither is it a ¿¡stra which can be thought of as the result of a growth of knowledge in a ¿¡stric tradition where subsequent, works build up on what had preceded.[5] By á¡r´gadeva's time the science, then, seems to have acquired a kind of sacrosanct nature, resisting modification. In this it was different from Sa´g¢ta-¿¡stra which allowed for changes both in theory and practice - lakÀa and lakÀa¸a. The category of the desi as opposed to the de¿¢ 'given' and 'fixed' m¡rg¢ one evidence of it: new musical forms could be freely created. And that such a development actually took place can be seen from the long list of adhu¡prasiddha r¡gas - 'modern' as opposed to 'traditional' forms-that á¡r´gadeva notes and describes. Kallin¡tha, commenting on á¡r´gadeva not much after him, explicitly states that a description of these r¡gas required basic changes in the theoretical structure of the ¿¡stra its lakÀa¸as - in order to mesh with the new material-the changing lakÀya.[6]

The second reason why á¡r´gadeva did not remodel the given picture he had for his purposes seems to be connected with the purpose behind the picture. The body in the Ëyurveda model, however conscious and incorporating volition as an important element in it was yet seen as an object to be acted upon, a network of causally linked entities that could be administered to and were thus passive. It was not a model designed to reveal the workings of human agency and the role played by the body in it.

The second picture he gives us is also included in the pi¸·otpatti chapter. It does seem to be drawn with the role of an agent in view, but the agency it has in mind is a kind of yogic, 'spiritual' agency and not the ordinary volition used in acts such as singing. The picture is a ku¸·alin¢ map of the body, a map familiar enough from popular writings on yoga. The body is believed to have a number of 'centres' - cakras - through which the yogic energy called ku¸·alin¢ passes on its path to the highest centre at the apex of the head where immortality resides. The home of the ku¸·alin¢ is at the base of the spinal column in the lower-most cakra. Awakened through yoga, the ku¸·alin¢ begins to flow upwards through a n¡d¢ called suÀmn¡ which is one of a vast network of n¡d¢s. As it reaches a new, higher cakra, pictured as a lotus with a certain number of petals, it can avail itself of the 'fruits' of that cakra, which lie as 'powers' on the petals of the cakras. The sixteen-petalled cakra at the throat is the home of Sarasvat¢, where the music of the s¡ma resides. The seven svaras, the musical tones also reside there. One who can move his ku¸·alin¢ to that cakra can be a musician, as á¡r´gadeva say.[7] If the ku¸·alin¢ can be made to reach up to the highest cakra, then one can, as is to be expected, achieve a very superior proficiency in music.[8]

Clearly this picture focuses the role of the agent. But the agent here is a spiritual s¡dhaka, not a musician. The picture is not designed to explain the ordinary, everyday act of singing. And so, á¡r´gadeva gives us a third picture, moving now to a new chapter for the purpose. This is the final picture he gives us, the one he seems to silently favour and after which he moves on to other things. This picture, where the body is envisioned as an instrument, does have elements, in á¡r¸adeva's description, which seem to tie it to the ku¸·alin¢picture also but the cementing is done half-heartedly and does not really succeed. The description begins with a well-known ¿loka which is worth a look. Let me quote:


¡tm¡ vivakÀam¡¸o'yaÆ manaÅ prerayate manaÅ I

dehasthaÆ vahn¢m¡hanti sa prerayati m¡rutam //

                                                  Sa´g¢ta-Ratn¡kara, 1.3.3.

The ¡tm¡ desirous of saying something impels the manas which in turn strikes at the fire contained in the body. The fire then propels the air.

We notice that á¡r´gadeva says: ¡tm¡ vivakÀam¡¸o'yam- "The soul desirous of saying something ..." when he should - and easily could - have said, ¡tm¡ jig¡sam¡no'yam: "The soul desirous of singing ..."[9] The reason for á¡r´adeva's not quite appropriate phrase is not difficult to see. He has borrowed it from an older theorist who had used it in describing a process for the production of speech, rather than song. The P¡¸in¢ya áikÀ¡ begins its description of the process of how speech arises in the body with the words:

¡tm¡ buddhy¡ samety¡rth¡nmano vivakÀay¡ I

manaÅ k¡y¡gnim¡hanti sa prerayati m¡rutam II

                                          P¡¸in¢ya áikÀ¡, 6

Wishing to speak, the ¡tm¡ gets together with meanings through the buddhi and harnesses the manas for the purpose. The manas strikes the fire in the body which in turn propels the air.

Here obviously lies the source of á¡r´gadeva's own ¿loka. The date of the áiks¡ is not certain but it is certainly many centuries older than á¡r´gadeva. It was an important text for any one who learnt Sanskrit grammar and every educated person had to do so. Or, perhaps, á¡r´gadeva had before him another text parallel to this áikÀ¡, since the doctrine it espouses was ancient knowledge born in the traditions of Vedic learning and the transmission of the spoken Vedic vocables. We also find a step missing in áar´gadeva's account. Buddhi has no role there. The reason is apparent. The function of buddhi in the áikÀ¡ account is to pick out the right words for what the  ¡tm¡ wants to say. But singing is not speaking and so this function is not needed. But then what replaces buddhi? Or does ¡tm¡ pick out the tones directly without a go-between which it needs for vivakÀ¡? But if so the ¡tm¡, in this conception must be significantly different from that of the áikÀ¡ picture. Where lies the difference? Sarigadeva provides no answers. He did not reflect on the matter. And yet, a borrower as he was, á¡r´gadeva could not help retaining the word vivakÀ¡.

There are also other modifications in á¡r´gadeva as we can see in the details of the process of svara-production as he describes it. These are, however, modifications not made by him-he seems to have been too tradition-bound in this matter for that - but accepted by him from older Sang¢ta-¿¡stras.

The áikÀ¡ account of the process of speech production describes it in some detail. Low and high pitches arise as the fire-heated air moves to different, regions of the human frame, the chest, the throat, and the head. Different syllables are produced in the cavity of the mouth on the basis of svara (pitch), k¡la (time taken in utterance), sthana (chest, throat and head where different, registers of a gradually higher pitch are produced) and prayatna (the nature of the effort). Further details of these categories and the distinct roles in the production of different syllables are also noted with care by the áikÀ¡; but we need not enter into these. It is an impressive account based on careful observation.

á¡r´gadeva's account of svara-production somewhat parallels this account, though its basis is imagination rather than observation. He speaks of a harp-like v¢¸¡ placed within the human frame. This was an old idea. The ancients called this v¢n¡ the ¿¡r¢ra-v¢¸¡, the 'body-harp', to distinguish it from the normal harp made of wood. It was the body-harp which was said to produce the musical tones in singing. The body-harp account of the production of tones shares the concept of sth¡na with the áikÀ¡. As in the ,áikÀ¡ scheme, different: sthcinas produce different octaves. The áikÀ¡ scheme also spoke of the seven svaras, but sarvas there are only meant as general areas of pitches used in producing the different Vedic accents (P¡¸in¢ya áikÀ¡,12). They are not distinct tones for musical rather than verbal expressions. In singing these distinct tones are produced by different 'strings' of the body-harp. These 'strings' are n¡·¢s stretched across the various sth¡nas with a gradually decreasing length so that the higher the position of the n¡·¢ the higher its pitch. Each sth¡na has twenty-two such n¡·¢ which account for not only the seven svaras but  also the ¿rutis, the shades of minute tonal distinctions that are audible to the human ear and can enter musical expression. The heated air as it moves over these strings causes them to sound.

This was a picture which á¡r´gadeva had inherited from older musicologists. He intended, apparently, to place it in the larger theoretical perspective of the two other pictures that he draws for us. But the connection, as we can  see, between the harp picture and pi¸·otpatti cannot be established in any meaningful sense and any connection that we might think of - such as in the notion of the n¡d¢- remains, to say the least, very shadowy. The body-harp can hardly be said to fit as a part of the larger pi¸·opatti picture. Neither does Sarngadeva attempt to connect the two.

He does, however, attempt to connect the harp picture with the yogic mapping of the ku¸·alin¢. He speaks of five sth¡nas including two others besides the three already mentioned. These two extra sth¡nas, his own additions, produce sounds which are atisiiksma very subtle-and s£kÀma-subtle-and are connected with the brahmna-granthi and the n¡bhi, two yogic centres. But these subtle sounds, á¡r´gadeva adds, lie outside the range of musical sounds: they are not related to the vyavah¡ra- the actual practice-of the art. They are not accorded nadis of any kind which could manifest them. Their role lies purely in the realm of theory. The idea seems to be to connect the musical sounds needed in vyavah¡ra, the so-called ¡hata or 'ustruck' sounds which we can actually hear and produce for the ordinary purposes of speaking and singing with the transcendental - p¡ram¡rthika an¡hata or 'unstruck' sound of the yogins. An¡hata n¡d¡s forms part of the ku¸·alin¢ picture.[10] The two extra, sth¡nas where á¡r´gadeva locates his subtle sounds were obviously suggested to him by the ku¸·alin¢. á¡r´adeva himself tells us that he an¡hata sound is of no real use to him as a musicologist. He says, since it, is devoid of all 'colour' and cannot please men, therefore, I shall speak only of ¡hata sounds, which when produced in the form of the ¿rutis produce song.[11] Yet he did feel obliged somehow to create a cogent joint between the harp picture and the ku¸·alin¢ and did not mind bending it to his own ends. One wonders what made him feel freer with the ku¸·alin¢ picture than with the Ayurveda one.

The notions of s£kÀma and atis£kÀma are for á¡r´gadeva stages that connect the an¡hata with the audible ¡hata sounds. These notions are however  empty of any real content in his scheme. The bridge he builds between the yogic and the musical picture of sound production has no real descriptive function and is not spoken of later in his ¿¡stra.

Another thing before I close. The concept of the body-harp, interesting as it is, is yet somewhat incomplete in comparison with the áikÀ¡ picture of the production of speech. The áikÀ¡ picture goes into the details of how every distinct syllable is produced, noting the exact placement of the tongue in the cavity of the mouth and the kind of distinct effort required. In the harp picture different tones are produced when the air arising from the navel strikes different n¡·¢s. But where is the means by which it is ensured that a particular chosen string is struck when required and not just any of them? Where, in other words are the 'fingers' evidently needed to play upon this harp?

[1] . See her paper entitled, "The treatment of Mah¡bh£tas in Sang¢ta-á¡stra: With   Special Reference to Yoga and Ëyurveda".

[2] Sa´gita-Ratn¡kara of á¡r´gadeva,Text and English Translation, Vol.1 by R.K. Shringy and Prem Lata Sharma, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi

[3] Sang¢ta-Ratn¡kara.  1.2.118: iti pratya´gasa´kÀepo vistarastviha tattvataÅ I asmadviracite'dhy¡tmaviveke v¢kÀyat¡Æ buddhaiÅ  II

The book is not available if we are to believe the New Catalogus Catalogorum, which only refers to the work without the reporting of any manuscript of it.

[4] Su¿ruta, á¡r¢rasth¡na, 1.10: bhautik¡ni cendriy¡¸y¡yurvede var¸yante tathen-driy¡rth¡Å. Caraka, S£trasth¡na, 1.48: sendriyaÆ cetanasth¡naÆ nirindriyam acetanam.

[5] See V¡caspati's ¶¢k¡ on the Vy¡sa-bh¡Àya on Pataµjali's Yoga-S£tra, sam¡dhi-p¡da, s£tra- 24. Vy¡sa says that the yoga as a, ¿¡stra was composed by a transcendental supreme being (prak¤À¶a sattva). Commenting, V¡caspati adds the ¿¡stra of Ëyurveda to the list of such divinely-composed ¿¡stras with the words: ayamabhisandhiÅ: mantr¡yurvedeÀu t¡vavad¢¿varapra¸¢teÀu t¡vad¢¿varapra¸¢teÀu 

prav¤ttis¡marthy¡darth¡vyabhic¡ravini¿c¡y¡tpr¡m¡¸yaÆ siddam I na cauÀadhibhed¡n¡Æ tatsaÆyogavi¿eÀ¡¸¡Æ ca mantr¡¸¡Æ ca tattadvar¸¡va-podd¡re¸a sahasre¸¡pi puruÀ¡yuÀairlaukikapram¡¸avyavah¡r¢ ¿ajtaÅ kartumanvayav-

avyatirekau I na c¡gam¡danvayavyatirekau t¡bhy¡Æ c¡gamastatsant¡na-            yoran¡ditv¡diti pratip¡dayituÆ yuktam II

[6] Sa´g¢ta-Ratn¡kara, 2.2.161-194. Note Kallin¡tha: id¡n¢madhun¡prasiddha r¡g¡´g¡d¢n¡Æ lakÀye prat¢t¡n¡Æ lakÀa¸avirodh¡n¡Æ virodha parih¡r¡rthamudyamainamaÅ kriyate

[7] Sa´g¢ta-Ratn¡kara, 1 .2 .141 : Vi¿uddheraÀ¶au dal¡nyaÀ¶au ¿rit¡ni tu I

dadyurg¢t¡disaÆsiddhim ....//

[8] Ìbid ., 1.2.143:  brahmarandhrasthito j¢vaÅ sudhay¡ sampluto yud¡ I tuÀ¶o g¢t¡dik¡ry¡n¢ saprakarÀ¡¸i k¡rayet II

[9] 9. An interesting discussion had taken place on this expression and scholars wondered if Sanskrit has an independent word for, 'the desire to sing'. I am thankful to Dr Prem Lata Sharma for drawing my attention to the word jig¡sa which, she points, has been used by Abhinavagupta

[10] Sa´g¢ta-Ratn¡kara, 1.2.162-165.

[11] Ibid.,1.2.166-167.


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